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ed, as an engine of mischief and falsehood, as well as of truth and good order,-in weakening the stability and even undermining the foundations of government, as well as sustaining and perpetuating the principles of well-regulated liberty. Our author might derive some lessons, even from his own personal experience, in this matter. We believe that he was himself once editor in the East Indies, that he was banished from that country on account of his disorganizing doctrines, and his property confiscated, and that his application to the British Parliament for restitution, was not received with all the favor that is usually awarded to equitable claims. Perhaps this was the cause, why two successive efforts on his part to establish newspapers in Great Britain, met with a decided repulse from his countrymen. His veneration for newspapers, is, under the circumstances, somewhat singular. We can assure him, that the facts connected with our history, at least, are to be drawn from more authentic sources, than such very ephemeral authority.
“Of general topics,” he says, “belonging to every part of the country equally, those of political institutions, religion, morals, education, literature, social intercourse, and domestic relations, will be found to be most frequently described and discussed; and wherever it has been practicable to corroborate my own views by native authorities, whether among the popular writers of the country or from their public journals, I have availed myself freely of these sources, partly to satisfy the English reader of the probable soundness of my conclusions, and partly to let the American reader also see that it is not, as he might otherwise suppose, the erroneous impressions of a foreigner, of whose authority they are peculiarly jealous in matters of national concern, but the deliberate conviction of some of the leading public writers of their own country, against which no such objection can be raised. It will be inferred from this, that my views of American institutions and manners are not always of the most favourable kind : and this I am ready to avow. Vol. i., pp. 17, 18.
Mr. Buckingham need not have avowed what is every where, in the pages of his work, so very apparent. But it is time to lay before our readers some of the sage opinions of our traveller on leading topics. On the subject of political parties, he remarks:
“ There are here, as there are in England, three political parties, Conservatives, Moderate Reformers, and Radicals; and, following after the bad example of the mother country, each party seems determined to see no virtue and no merit in either of the others. The Conservatives are here called Whigs; the Moderate Reformers are called Democrats; and the Radicals are called Loco-focos.” Vol. i., p. 50.
Mr. Buckingham gives the following account of the origin of the last-named appellation:
“ A public meeting of the Democrats was called at Tammany Hall, their usual place of assembling; and the Radicals, wishing to obtain possession of the room, but not being strong enough in numbers to effect this by force, resorted to the following stratagem : each member of the radical body was furnished with one of the small instantaneous light-matches, which are called loco-focos, and each taking a box of these in his pocket, they contrived, by a preconcerted arrangement, to extinguish all the lights of the room during the proceedings of the evening. The whole of the audience being thus left in utter darkness, the greater number of them, who were not in the secret, went away, when the Radicals, taking advantage of their retirement, lighted all their matches, and with these rekindled the lights in every part of the room at once, after which they voted into the chair a member of their own body, proposed and carried their own previously-prepared resolutions, and sent them out in the papers of the following day, as the resolutions of the great Democratic meeting, held by public advertisement at Tammany Hall. This trick, as might be expected, brought deserved discredit on the party practising it, and has fixed upon them a name which unites opprobrium and ridicule in one." Vol. i., p. 50.
Poor Locos ! and yet whatever • deserved discredit,' • opprobrium' and ridicule' attaches to them, in the opinion of Mr. Buckingham, it has seldom fallen to the lot of
any party, before, to derive a name from the rare circumstance of their creating and shedding light. There seems to be some confusion in our author's story about the matches. Each individual was furnished with one of them, and each took • a box of them' in his pocket, and finally they “lighted all their matches ! If we suppose, that there were five hundred Radicals present on this occasion, and that each box contained the usual number of one hundred matches, and that to each match there was one candle, and that all the candles were lighted, there would have been fifty thousand lights in Tammany Hall on the evening referred
What a splendid illumination! And if the mental light diffused was as great as the physical, it must have been as rare an occasion for acquiring ideas, as for seeing objects.
Mr. Buckingham, however, has an equally good hit at the Whigs : “ As far," he says,
as I was able to discover, by my intercourse with editors and political men of all parties, and by comparison of their journals, I found the American Whigs to be quite as conservative as their namesakes at home. They are nearly all in favour of giving wealth a more open and direct influence than it now possesses in the suffrage for elections, and would be glad to exclude from the electoral body all who have not some fixed amount of property. They are against any changes that would increase the power or influence of the people. They are in favour of monopolies in chartered or incorporated banks, and against free trade, except in their own products and manufactures. They sympathize almost universally with the Tory party in England ; they think that even Lord Grey carried the principles of reform too far, and would be glad to see the Duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel restored to office. They think Lord John Russell perfectly right in refusing to accede to any proposition for the extension of the suffrage, shortening the duration of Parliament, or for granting the vote by ballot. They are against the separation of the Church of England from the state, and against any alteration in the constitution of the House of Lords. They are averse to any discussion of the question of slavery, and are generally hostile to its abolition. They condemn the Canadians for their attempt to establish a free government for themselves; and, in short, they think, and feel, and act, with reference to the other classes of the community here, just as the Tories and high Conservative Whigs do in England.” Vol. i., p. 51.
We conclude our author belongs to the party of Moderate Reformers, in his own country:
He claims, indeed, for American Whigs, pretty much all the intelligence, wealth, rank and virtue that we have among us, but at the same time, while he crowns their brows with chaplets, he plentifully bespatters the roses with mud, which not a little mars their beauty :
“ I had an excellent opportunity,” he says, “ of seeing the working of the political machine, and the conflict of opposing parties, in a general election for the State Legislature, which occurred soon after my arrival in New-York, in the month of November. Heretofore the composition of the Legislature, for the State of New York, including the two houses, the Assembly and the Senate, as well as the Governor was, like that of the Congress or Legislature of the General Government, Democratic, or favorable to the existence of Mr. Van Buren's administration. The changes in public opinion, wrought by the commercial disasters of which I have previously spoken, had occasioned such a feeling of hostility to the present cabinet as the supposed cause of those financial difficulties, from which all classes were more or less suffering, that the Whigs determined to avail themselves of this change to effect a complete renovation of their two houses of State Legislature, by making their own party predominant. Accordingly, the note of preparation was sounded early by all their organs of the press; and while committees were forming in town and country, and meetings held every night in the week, by old and young, to organize and arrange their plans of operation, pass strong resolutions, print them in the newspapers, and distribute them freely through every part of the city, the editors themselves were all busily engaged in aiding these operations by their daily appeals. A stranger, arriving in the country, and not knowing any thing of the state of parties beforehand, or of the mode of warfare practised on such occasions, would have imagined that the fate of the whole Union depended on the issue of this single election ; that if it were carried in favor of the Whigs, the nation would instantly be restored to the highest degree of commercial prosperity ; but that, if carried against them, the result would be universal bankruptcy, total annihilation of all the elements of prosperity, the dissolution of the Union, the insurrection of the slave population, and the destruction of all that was worth preserving in the country. There was no term of opprobrium too severe for them to apply to their opponents, the Democrats. They called them atheists, infidels, agrarians, incendiaries, men without religion and without honesty, who desired to pull down all that was venerable in the institutions of the country, to seize the property of the rich and divide it among the poor, to demolish the churches, to destroy the courts of justice, to let loose all the criminals from the jails, to abolish all government, and to produce only a chaos of anarchy and confusion. Some few, who heard all this, seemed really to believe it; but the greater number knew it to be merely electioneering language, and disregarded it accordingly; though they had no objection whatever to its use, provided it would attain the end they had in view. To me it was at once both ludicrous and disgusting ; ludicrous, because of the gravity with which it was reiterated, day after day, in the face, not only of repeated contradictions and disavowals on the other side, but in spite of challenges again and again repeated, to produce any well-authenticated speech or writing of any of the Democratic party, in which such doctrines were avowed, or froin which they could even be inferred, but which challenges were no more heeded than if they had never been offered.” Vol. i., p. 55, 56.
on the occasion of an election canvass in Great Britain, as in our own country; indeed, our author admits the fact. The simplicity, with which he asserts, that some few, who heard all this, seemed really to believe it,' is calculated to awaken a smile, but where could the conscience of the man have been slumbering, when he goes on to declare, that • The greater number knew it to be merely electioneering language, and disregarded it accordingly; though they had no objection whatever to its use, provided it would attain the end they had in view ! Really, this is worse than the loco-foco matches, a
guerre, justifiable enough, perhaps, under the circumstances, but here our author charges upon the Whigs, not merely malice prepense, but actual duplicity.
We do not imagine, that he will be likely to acquire any great favor, either with the Whigs or the Democrats of the United States, by the opinions he offers to the world, in the work before us. English radicalism, certainly, differs. very widely from American democracy; it being the province of the former to ward off wrongs; of the latter, to maintain rights.
The chapter on “misery and crime among the lower classes,” is made up, chiefly, of extracts from newspapers, accompanicd with the commentaries of the author. He apologizes for the source from which he derives his information, in the following language :
" My apology for these quotations, if any indeed be necessary, is the apprehension that, if such statements were made by me of the condition of society here, without an exhibition of the authorities for the facts, it would be thought an exaggerated picture, and I should be open to the imputation of having overcharged the colouring. But it is only necessary to consult American authorities, and not English ones, to show that recklessness and fraud are far more prevalent in this community than in most others of a mercantile character in Europe, and that an inordinate thirst after gain, and a determination to acquire it by any means that are practicable, is one of the chief causes of this evil.” Vol. i., p. 116.
The quotations referred to, are headed as follows: “A Fatal Encounter !” “Two Lives sacrificed in a Private Quarrel !" "The Most Horrible yet!" “ The Tragedy in Arkansas !” “The Robbery of the Mail, and Murder of the Driver !" “Attempt at extensive Fraud !” “ False